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Album: No More TearsReleased: 1991Charted:
This song is about Ozzy's wife, Sharon. They met when her father, Don Arden, was managing Black Sabbath. After they married, Sharon bought out Ozzy's contract and became his manager. She runs the Ozzfest.
Ozzy wrote this song with his guitarist, Zakk Wylde. In the liner notes for The Ozzman Cometh
, he wrote, "I had been walking around with the melody in my head for a couple of years but never got a chance to finish it until I was working with Zakk on the No More Tears
album. At that time Zakk and I were doing a lot of writing on the piano. 'Mama, I'm Coming Home' was always something I'd say on the phone to my wife near the end of a tour."
Ozzy gave up drugs and alcohol before recording this. He credits Sharon for the lifestyle change, and admits that he would be dead if did not turn sober.
Lemmy Kilmister from the group Motorhead wrote the lyrics. He helped Ozzy write many of the songs on the album.
Lemmy wrote the words for "Mama" in less than two hours one afternoon. "He'd written me three sets of lyrics," marveled Ozzy to Mojo. "He just writes them as if he's writing a message. And it's like, 'He wrote this in how long? 'And they're not good lyrics – they're f--king amazing lyrics."
This was a change of image for Ozzy. The album is lighter and more reflective than anything he had done before. It was his first album without a sinister title like The Ultimate Sin, Diary of a Madman, or Talk Of The Devil.
"Mama" is Ozzy's pet name for his wife. He also referred to her as "Mama" in his 1981 song "Flying High Again" and his 2001 song "Running Out of Time."
Aside from "Close My Eyes Forever," a duet he did with Lita Ford
in 1989, this is Ozzy's only US Top 40 hit.
Zakk Wylde has said that the guitar solo in this song is so easy, he could play it in his sleep. He means that as a compliment - in his Songfacts interview
, he said that some of his favorite songs (many of which are rock classics) - are very simple structurally.
The video, which stars a very sepia-toned Ozzy, was one of the first directed by Samuel Bayer, who also did Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit
" around this time.